Why Exactly Do You Go to the Theatre?

Cristina D'Almeida

Why do people go to the theater? It’s a question to ponder on and there really is no single answer to it in my mind. I think there is something special about going to a theater and seeing a show versus going to see a movie. There is something about having that action right in front of you. After all, there is nothing like live theatre. I imagine it’s probably an escape for some people other than it being a pleasure. I know it is an escape for me and it brings me so much joy, excitement, and contentedness that I’ve kind of become addicted. Not only is it my passion, but it is a huge part of my life. Without it, I would feel as if I lost my imagination.

Sometimes, you get tired in life. You get tired of the same old routine every day. You get tired of seeing the same people. I know I do. Life becomes too predictable and boring, so you look for outlets to bring you the satisfaction of some sort. You look for something different. For some people, including myself, that outlet is live theatre and the arts, and it gets me every time. Never have I had a throwaway experience in live theatre whether it be working on a production or being an audience member. I always take away something positive even for the roughest of shows. There is nothing like sitting in a theater and watching scenes, situations, musical numbers or just great acting take place on stage and having it so close to you.

I connect with what theatre brings and its situations. I find many of the subjects and plots completely relevant to my life or someone else’s life. I enjoy analyzing and understanding the characters, again, whether I’m sitting in the audience or working on the show. If I’ve seen the show a million times, then I gravitate towards the performance. What does this actor, in particular, have to add to this character? What is their approach? There are so many aspects to get lost in, and I try to pay close attention to it all. While you do all of this, you suddenly forget about that paper you have due tomorrow or that really bad date you went on. You forget about work tomorrow or that dinner you have to go to. Nothing else matters but what is right in front of you. I enjoy theatre because I get lost in it. Sometimes, it sparks things in me. Certain scenes might make me think of certain situations, negative or positive in my own life. Sometimes, scenes or songs in a show stir up personal feelings or emotions in me and I love that even if it brings pain or reminds me of bad experiences. I love the effect it has. I love that theatre does that to you. It can be so personal.

little-theatre-of-walla-walla-1500x609.jpg

I think all of this is partly why people go to the theater. Maybe they’re missing something in their life and seeing it on stage, in front of them, is a way to fill that void. Maybe it’s just pleasure or maybe, from a more casual point of view, it’s where people like to take their significant others on dates. It’s a classic “after dinner” activity that has a certain ambiance as well. Maybe people like to go alone. Maybe they go to learn or experience something new. Whatever the reason is, that reason is valid and we all come together to see the same thing in the end.

On a more personal note, theatre saves me in a lot of ways. After working all day at my day job, I get so tired from it and all I want to do is just go to rehearsal (which often is in the evening) and get out my stress from the day and just work on what I love. Sometimes it’s all I can think about during the day. I kind of betray everything else in my life for theatre. I have a lifelong affair with the arts. Not everyone gets it because they haven’t experienced it as I have, but theatre always comes first. I think a lot of people may see it the way I do. I just know I can’t live without it. I know that’s a strong statement, but this industry pulls you in like no other. This isn’t a 9 to 5 office job; it’s a creative, personal, passionate and fulfilling industry. Everyone who is in it lives and breathes theatre, and we like it that way.